Using Microsoft education tools on iPad

Selecting iPad as a device to complement Microsoft tools for education is a game-changer for teachers, students and parents.

May 20 2021 by

Aaron Webb

stack of iPads used for education

Many schools use Microsoft tools for education, whether it be for email, Microsoft Teams for remote or hybrid learning or OneDrive for their document management. Did you know it’s possible to add an additional layer of pedagogical value, creativity and simplicity to your ecosystem? Let’s discuss the power of Microsoft on Apple (powered by Jamf) to bring your educational technology to the next level.

Microsoft apps made for iPad

Microsoft have a number of apps specifically designed for iPad, which offer schools the ability to continue to work in the tools they are familiar with, while blending the elegant, user-focused experience of Apple into their everyday workflows. For example, Microsoft Office, Outlook and Teams are all available as standalone apps on the Apple App Store, making it easier than ever to unite the functionality of Microsoft with your iPad and Apple devices.

There are also many cloud-based Microsoft apps that make the educational experience more meaningful for teachers and students, such as Forms for creating quick and easy surveys or To Do, which helps with basic task management in the form of to-do lists. Whiteboard is also a very popular app with teachers because it acts as a virtual, collaborative whiteboard which also integrates with lessons that are taught with Teams. And all of these can be brought together with Sharepoint, a portal used for sharing documents and resources which is perfect for group or class collaboration.

Not only are there dedicated apps for Microsoft, but there are also a host of third-party apps that schools can leverage as part of the Apple ecosystem. Although schools may use Microsoft for some aspects of their school day, Apple can provide core, go-to apps that make learning and productivity even more seamless.

Bring iPadOS and Microsoft apps together

With iPadOS, you can use Multitasking to work with two apps at the same time. For example, you can answer emails while watching a video, switch apps using gestures and more. It’s also possible to use the Dock to work with more apps simultaneously.

The Dock, located at the bottom of the Home screen, lets you instantly open and quickly switch from any app you're in. You can even customize the left side of the Dock with your favorite apps and on the right side, you can see apps that you’ve recently used.

Another great feature for both teachers and students is the ability to use two apps at the same time. With Split View, you can have Microsoft Word open on the right and the Safari browser on the left. Users can easily browse the internet for resources and links while also viewing their Word document for their teaching or learning task, which is huge for research, writing assignments and so many other everyday tasks.

Accessibility built into Apple devices

Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone. Accessibility is one of Apple’s core values, with Apple products designed with accessibility features built in, enabling everyone to learn and create in ways that work best for them. This makes all the difference for some students in whether or not they can access the tools they need for their education.

One example I used in my time in the classroom is the Speak Section feature. This works within apps on the iPad, so a sentence from a Word document can be highlighted and when the option to speak selection is tapped, the iPad will not only read out the words but highlight the word as it’s spoken. This is great for students that cannot read or do not use the language of the country they are living in as a first language.

Check out the Accessibility section on Apple's webiste for further information on all the accessibility options and features Apple currently provides.

Microsoft and Apple, powered by Jamf

As an IT administrator using Jamf, you can create workflows that allow your day to be as frictionless as possible and free up your time to focus on other areas of your role. By using Jamf to streamline app deployment, update iPadOS updates en mass, run inventory and offer zero-touch deployment, you can then focus on supporting teachers, students and parents in using their devices the most effectively and efficiently.

For IT, Jamf Pro and Jamf School also support directory integration with Azure. This powerful feature can simplify and secure new device deployments by requiring authentication during the setup process. This brings a level of physical device security to Mac and automatically assigns the user within the mobile device management (MDM) solution. Furthermore, admins can streamline scoping by leveraging existing directory groups.

With all apps deployed to devices, students have all the tools to take their learning up a notch. This is a powerful idea, but with global content and information at their fingertips, students also need guidance and help to remove distractions to focus on learning. The role of the teacher is becoming more of a facilitator as students become confident in their tools and express their learning through their own choice of apps and medium. But how do we empower IT, teachers and parents to guide students in the right direction?

With Jamf Teacher and Jamf Parent apps, schools can make sure that students are focused on their learning, remove distractions and facilitate a learning experience that is flexible for them to explore and express their creativity, all within a safe environment. These work great with the Microsoft apps on iPad, so schools can make use of the Microsoft suite while ensuring they continue to have classroom management features iPad and Jamf can provide.

Learn more about the Jamf Teacher and Jamf Parent apps with the following how-to videos:

We believe that for a school with a Microsoft ecosystem, Windows devices don’t have to be the only option. iPad offers a “best of both" approach and when combined with Jamf, provide your whole school community — IT, teachers, students and parents — the tools to make an impact.

Want to learn more about features and workflows of Microsoft on iPad? Get even more in-depth details by tuning in to our webinar, “Enhance Learning with Microsoft Tools on iPad”.

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